Sunday, April 12, 2020

Who can endure?

Malachi 3:1-3 (CEB)

Look, I am sending my messenger who will clear the path before me; suddenly the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you take delight is coming, says the Lord of heavenly forces. Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can withstand his appearance? He is like the refiner’s fire or the cleaner’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver. He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. They will belong to the Lord, presenting a righteous offering.

I know. This quarantine situation is hard to endure. I get it.

I consider myself very blessed because God has shared with me so much and I often cannot believe it. I have a beautiful home, an incredible wife, two daughters (and a daughter-in-law) who work and love in great faithfulness... So when it comes to being asked to self-isolate, it isn't exactly a difficult thing for me.

But I know a lot of you are in difficult situations, restricted in a small space, or with perhaps not the best companions, and I want you to know a lot of people are praying for you.

To that end, I wanted to share with you something a friend of mine shared on Facebook. It is the story of a women's Bible study where they were learning from the book of Malachi. At one point, they noticed verse three in the third chapter, where God is compared to a refiner and purifier of silver. Accepting the analogy, they continued, but one woman thought there might be more in that to understand. So after the study, she went to the local arts community and found an individual who actually had some experience in refining silver.

She went to his studio, and there, he showed her the process. Taking an unrefined amount of silver, he placed it in a crucible and with iron tongs he picked up the silver and held it over a fire. The fire was scorching, but the craftsman was steady holding the silver in the inferno, keeping a close eye on the silver as the smoke of the impurities slowly burnt away.

She asked, "How long must it be held in the fire?"

He replied, "until it is exactly pure, and not a moment more, or it shall be destroyed."

Then she asked, "How will you know the exact moment?"

The refiner replied; "When I can see my image in it."

So here we sit, held in a fire. This can be a time of great refinement, or we can stew and worry and burn until we are destroyed. Know that as we endure this event that God is keeping his steady eye on us. Eventually the fire will end. Trust that God knows exactly how much you can take, and that you will come out pure and stronger for the trouble.

You were made in God's image, and He resides in you, if you allow Him. Let this be a time when you allow yourself to reflect His image. You can do this. You can endure.

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